The Weekender: The Secret World of Og, a cheese festival and five other things to do this weekend
1. THE SECRET WORLD OF OG
Based on Pierre Berton’s much-loved children’s novel, this Canadian Children’s Opera Company-produced show follows four kids (leader Penny and her siblings Pamela, Peter and Patsy) who, while searching for their mysteriously missing little brother, Paul, visit an underground land populated by green-skinned residents can say only one word: “Og.” Originally published in 1961, the tale has been made into an animated series, but this is the first time the story has taken opera form. May 6 to 9. $35. Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
2. MAMMA MIA!
Donna, her sneaky daughter Sophie and her three ex-boyfriends are all back in Toronto, 10 years after their first appearance at the Royal Alex. Thanks to the sometimes awkward but always funny musical stylings of Meryl Streep and company in the 2008 film adaptation, a new generation of theatregoers is awaiting its chance to unashamedly sing along to “Dancing Queen.” To June 27. $26–$120. Princess of Wales Theatre, 300 King St. W., 416-872-1212, mirvish.com.
This sexed-up version of Giselle by Ireland’s Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre comes with warnings of mature content and explicit language. Colour us intrigued. There are several departures from the original, starting with the setting. Instead of Rhineland, Giselle lives with her widowed father and mentally unstable brother in the fictional Irish town of Ballyfeeny, where she falls for Albrecht, a gorgeous, bisexual line-dance instructor. To May 8. $40. Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.
4. CHEESE BOUTIQUE FESTIVAL OF CHEFS
Now in its seventh year, the Cheese Boutique’s Festival of Chefs is probably the yummiest way to spend a Saturday or Sunday morning. Every weekend in May, one of the city’s celeb chefs will give an in-store cooking demo, using ingredients from the beloved fromagerie. Catch Auberge du Pommier’s Jason Bangerter this Saturday and Tutti Matti’s Alida Solomon on Sunday. To May 30. Noon–4. $5. Cheese Boutique, 45 Ripley Ave., 416-762-6292, cheeseboutique.com.
5. TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL
This is a good weekend for comic book fans. The Robert Downey Jr.-fronted Iron Man 2 opening on Friday, and they can also rub shoulders with over 200 of the industry’s top artists, including Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), Paul Pope (Batman: Year 100) and Roger Langridge (The Muppets) at this annual festival. The lineup offers plenty of opportunities for hero worship and also includes panels, launch parties and readings. We’re especially psyched for Saturday’s official party, where there will be a live drawing demo by local illustrator Kagan McLeod. May 8 and 9. Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., torontocomics.com.
6. MOTHERS, DAUGHTERS AND SONS
Children who take their Broadway-loving mothers to this Mother’s Day-themed concert will score major points for the rest of the year. Seasoned veterans of both musical theatre and opera, performers Elizabeth DeGrazia (Cats, A Chorus Line), Gabrielle Prata (Carmen, Madama Butterfly), Robert Longo (Les Miserables, Beauty and the Beast) and tenor Keith Klassen take on the burden and blessings of motherhood. Throw in brunch and maybe the promise of a grandchild or two and the award for favourite child will be a shoo-in. May 8. $30. Jane Mallett Theatre, St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, 27 Front St. E., 416-366-7723, stlc.com.
7. UNITED WE ROCK! CONCERT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS (FREE!)
We like music, especially when it’s free, so this Saturday’s open-air concert at Yonge-Dundas Square sounds kind of perfect. Featuring some of the city’s most promising indie musicians (Graydon James and Young Novelists, One Fell Swoop, Humble the Poet and Birds of Wales), the show commemorates genocides and war crimes. May 8. Yonge–Dundas Square, unitedwerockconcert.com.
(Home page lead image: “Funny Animals” No. 81, by riptheskull.)